Tourism For Members

Why Sweden wants to drastically slash visitor numbers to popular mountains

Emma Löfgren
Emma Löfgren - [email protected]
Why Sweden wants to drastically slash visitor numbers to popular mountains
Sweden's tourism association wants to cut visitor numbers to some of the popular mountain trails in the Jämtland region. Photo: Niclas Vestefjell/

Sweden’s tourist association STF has launched a bid to cut the number of hikers on certain popular trails.


Tourists spend around 50,000 nights at the Swedish tourism association’s mountain lodges in the Jämtland region every year.

But their presence is taking its toll on the country's spectacular mountain range, including on Sami reindeer herding.

Sweden’s laws on reindeer herding – a right granted only to the indigenous Sami communities – gives the state the right to give STF permission to use the land only if it is not of “significant inconvenience” to the animals.

But tourism in the area has grown in recent years, with reindeer struggling to graze and calve in peace.

Jämtland is described by STF as a "unique situation", because its spider’s web of trails criss-crosses the mountains, and large parts of the area are not protected by a national park or nature reserve, making it hard to control visitor movements.


“We built the first mountain cabin in the Jämtland mountains over 130 years ago. Now we’re taking responsibility by stepping back from the trend over the past few years to enable sustainable outdoor life for at least another 130 years,” said STF secretary-general Maria Ros Hjelm in a statement.

“STF will continue to offer overnight accommodation for hikers and skiers, but we will change the food on offer, reduce the number of beds, change the opening hours and dismantle one cabin.”

Right, Maria Ros Hjelm, secretary-general of the Swedish tourism association STF. Photo: Linnea Vesterlund/TT

STF’s current lease runs out at the end of the year, and after that it proposes the following changes:

Reduced opening hours at STF’s mountain lodges in Jämtland and Härjedalen during for example calving season. Lodges in areas not accessible by road will completely close in winter.


At the Blåhammaren mountain station, the restaurant will close for good and the number of beds will be halved to 30. Visitors will still be able to buy basic food from the shop and prepare it in the kitchen.

The situation is similar at the Sylarna mountain station, where the number of beds will be cut by 25 percent. Its restaurant, as well as the restaurant at the Helags mountain station, will close by 2028.

STF believes that closing the restaurants will lead to fewer people visiting the area.

The Gåsen mountain hut will close completely, to create space for reindeer and their calves.

Reindeer in Jämtland. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

Ros Hjelm said the discussion with the Sami communities had been “very educational, sometimes difficult, but above all important. Without a good and constructive dialogue, we would never have reached what we are now presenting. If STF is serious about sustainable development, we have to take these steps sooner or later. It turns out to be sooner, which makes me both happy and proud.”

She added: "We are a major player in the hospitality industry, but we are above all a non-profit association which wants to show in no uncertain terms what we represent, and we have therefore let our values guide us. Our national assembly has decided that STF should be a driving force in the sustainable transformation of tourism and outdoor life, and these changes are in line with that decision."


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